AMS Member Profile ~ Robert (Bob) Fontana ~

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I retired in 2008 after spending the previous 24 years as president of an electrical engineering firm designing communications, radar and tracking systems. I’ve always enjoyed working with my hands, and about 2 years before selling my company, I delved into woodworking as a means of letting off some needed steam. I was always fascinated by the beautiful marquetry designs on William & Mary period pieces from the 17th century, and this fascination grew into a desire to learn how to make such designs myself. My marquetry interests took me far afield from the flower and bird designs of the 17th century, however, and I now enjoy incorporating mixed media techniques into my marquetry designs – inlays, pyrography, acrylics, crushed gem stones, and metallic gilding.

Editor's note: Bob's marquetry box entitled
A Tribute to Hokusai received both First Place and Peoples' Choice Awards at the 2011 Northwest Fine Woodworking Box & Container Show in Seattle, WA. The box was adorned with marquetry panels depicting woodblock prints from the Japanese master of the 18th century.
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"A Tribute to Hokusai" - Jewelry box with 4 marquetry panels, semi-precious stone inlays, acrylic stenciling

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Hokusai's "Kajikazawa in Kai Province"

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Detail of the top cover design for "A Tribute to Hokusai"

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"Samurai with Loi" - Copper gilding with chemical patination

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"Year of the Dragon" - Copper & Gold Guilded Marquetry

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Mantle Clock Design in 18th century Hepplewhite style

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"Bouquet of Flowers"

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Japanese Tea Boxes in the style of Utamaro

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"Lords of the Chinese World: Dragon & Phoenix"